A 15 mile walk mainly through Northamptonshire. The walk starts at Lavendon (actually in Buckinghamshire), and passes through Bozeat, Wollaston, Strixton, and Easton Maudit. Other areas of interest include the proposed site of the Nun Wood Wind Farm.
|Date||21st March 2008|
|Time Taken||5 hours 40 mins|
|Average Speed||2.7 mph|
|Map||Landranger 152 (Northampton & Milton Keynes)|
Although mainly in Northamptonshire, this walk starts in the village of Lavendon (map 1). Start by following the small lane north towards Castle Farm. At the point where the lane forks (map 2) (with a footpath continuing straight ahead), take the right-hand track (marked as a by-way) – traffic will probably be light as the by-way quickly turns into a bridleway. Continue following the bridleway, along a wood, until it joins the Three Shires Way (map 3). Turn right, and follow the well marked path along the edge of Threeshire wood.
This area could be radically changed in the near future due to the proposed development of the Nun Wood Wind Farm – I can see why they have chosen this site as the wind was immense, however I am not sure what effect it will have on the area (not having been up close and personal with a wind turbine before!). I am sure it is some consolation to local people that walkers on the Three Shires Way have been taken into account in the plan for these huge structures:
The locations were amended to introduce variation in set back distances from the Three Shires Way further to advice from LDA Design – landscape architects. LDA advised that this would create a less regimented and more organic turbine arrangement when viewed from the right of way.
Keep following the Three Shires Way until you reach the trig point (map 4) (at the stunning height of 106m!). From the trig point take the footpath West across the fields towards Bozeat. Bozeat is a historic village, with the remains of a Saxon burial ground. The parish church dates back to 1130 and was probably built on the site of an earlier church. There was a great fire in 1729, which the church survived, apparently caused by Widow Keech, who, rumour has it, left her baking unattended in the hearth to gossip with her neighbours (ref). This website has more information on the architecture of the church, which to be honest I don’t understand much of!
From the church (map 5), take the footpath heading North (the footpath starts at the corner of the road junction). This section of the walk is not particularly well signposted. Follow the footpath along the field edge. At the next footpath junction, turn right and follow along the edge of the field until you reach a tarmacked track (map 6). It would appear that this track has largely replaced the old footpath, which is a shame as it follows along a stream and through a small wooded area – certainly with more character than tarmac! You can still see the remains of the original footpath in places!
Just before Poplars Farm (map 7), go over the stile and follow the footpath around the tennis court – avoiding what smells like a septic tank leak (which Angel walk straight through!). Cross another stile, and enjoy the view down the hill towards Wollaston. Follow the path down into Wollaston, entering via a small industrial estate. Wollaston is named after a Saxon lord called Wulfaf (derived from the Saxon for Wulfaf’s Town), there is also strong evidence of settlement and activity during the late Roman period – including the remains of a large Romano British vineyard (ref).
Make your way to the southern tip of the village, to join the footpath heading towards the cricket ground (map 8 ), I followed the footpath from near the industrial estate past the village allotments. At the cricket ground, keep to the right edge and go through the gate onto the very busy road. Cross carefully, but don’t take the gate immediately in front of you – instead follow the road to the left (there is a huge verge) for 100m to another gate – go through this gate, and follow the path up the slope to Strixton (apparently much of the village is owned by the queen!) (map 9).
From the village, follow the byway across the fields, and onto a track – which you can’t miss. I found this leg quite upsetting really – as you can see from the photo, the track has been pretty much destroyed by off road vehicles. Now my problem is that I own a land rover (a proper off road vehicle) – causing such damage on private land and off-road sites is one thing, but causing this damage on routes shared with other users is terrible and certainly doesn’t help people’s views of “off-roading”.
At the point where the byway heads off to the right (map 10), head straight on. A short distance from the byway, cross the stile on the right, and follow the enclosed footpath – this leg passes through a quarry (which is bizarrely not marked on the map!). As this a bank holiday, there wasn’t much going on, except a huge amount of rabbits!
After the quarry, the footpath cuts across several fields (no obvious marked path though). When the footpath meets a cross roads (map 11), continue in the same direction, heading roughly South West (towards Easton Maudit). You will shortly come across a derelict cottage, barn and out buildings – presumably an old farm. If I have a spare £100k, it would make an ideal barn conversion, with courtyard and outbuilding office space…. sadly I don’t! Continue following the track (my new drive?) up to the village.
Easton Maudit is a small, yet stunning, Northamptonshire village. There used to be a manor house near the church, but it was demolished. There is a bizarre tree, the remains of an oak, in the village green which presumably holds some importance, as it is now artificially supported by metal struts – however I can’t find any information as to the tree’s history.
From Easton Maudit’s church (map 12), follow the lane south. After a few hundred meters (at an amazing thatched cottage – I wish I had taken a picture of it!), turn left and join a bridleway. This bridleway is well marked (and churned up by horses), so it is easy to follow as it cuts across several fields and cuts through Horn Wood. When the path comes out of the wood, cut across the small field, enter the next field (map 13), and then bear left along the edge of the field. At the next large field, the path again isn’t marked, but just keep going in the same direction – roughly South. Keep an eye out for what must be the best (and actually quite scary) scarecrow!
You are aiming to hit the road opposite the water tower (topped with radio masks) (map 14). Cross the road and follow the footpath around the buildings, and then follow the footpath along the field edges. The footpath crosses the Three Shires Way (just imagine all those wind turbines), and eventually joins the top of the lane from Lavendon – follow the lane back into the village!